Showing posts from December, 2016

2016 Had It's Ups and Downs

The hardest and most heartbreaking was the loss of our grandson, Christopher. He succumbed to a horrible cancer. Because he visited with us when he was a youngster and lived with us off and on as an adult, we were very close to him.  He lived the last years of his life with his mother and step-dad, and came to visit several times.

Another hard and difficult event was the deduction of hubby's military disability from 100% to 10%. We appealed, he had another physical and the disability was raised to 40%. We should have been happy, right? No, because for some crazy reason, they deducted the 40% from his retirement pay, which made our income even less than before. Plus, now we don't get the veteran's disability cut in our property tax.
We have written to our legislator--but heard nothing yet. How crazy is that? 
He's so upset, he said if he'd known what would happen he'd never have stayed in the Navy for 20 years--he missed out on a lot of family life--to say nothi…

Yesterday was Son Mark's Birthday

After having two girls, our first son, Mark, was born 3 days after Christmas. When I finally went into labor, I wouldn't leave the house to go to the hospital until after Perry Mason was over. Hubby wasn't happy about that--but he was thrilled when he learned we'd finally had a son.
The above photo is of Mark right before multiple myeloma took him from  us. He's with his big sister, Dana. We took Mark with us to church camp and he had a wonderful time.
Of course his birthday reminds of us our loss, but also wonderful memories of Mark.

In this photo he is still feeling pretty good. He did love the beach and the ocean. 

This is a great photo because he was happy and healthy when this was taken. He's with his two step-daughters and his wonderful wife Leah. 
He was a fun little boy too.
He loved to go to the beach--we lived close to Oxnard and Hueneme beaches. He could go to sleep anywhere--even on the warm sidewalk--which he did often.
Not everything went well for Ma…

Post Christmas

We celebrated Christmas Eve with some of our family. Unfortunately, our two great grands were sick, though this is a pretty good photo of them with their parents.

Unfortunately, though I charged my phone, I forgot to take any pictures and we had two other great grands here for dinner and the big present opening. 
The littlest one liked one of the boxes best.

The next morning, hubby and I headed to church and feasted on homemade biscuits and gravy.
I taught Sunday School, and yes, I had 3 kids, and attended the church service with hubby. As usual, Pastor Brandon (another great-grandson) did a great job.
Back home, we had leftovers for dinner.
In the afternoon, we had a visit from grandson, Nathan and his wife Amanda. We'll soon have another great-grandson from them. So much fun talking with them.
The two little ones continue to be sick with this awful flu.
My sister called me yesterday and we had a great long chat. I miss her. She used to live close and we did lots of things togeth…

Merry Christmas to one and all!

To all of you who celebrate Christmas, my wish for you is that it will be filled with love, family and friends--and many, many blessings.
Our Christmas Eve will be spent with some of our family--sharing dinner and a few gifts and lots of love and joy. We have so many little ones, that always adds to the fun.
Christmas Day we'll go to church as usual--I'll teach Sunday School if I have any kids to teach. Some will have spent the night and I know my daughter (the senior preacher's wife) has purchased gifts for the kids who wake up at the church. Should be fun.

We'll have leftovers for dinner with whoever decides to join us.
Merry Christmas!

Another Christmas Memory

For 23 years we owned, operated and lived in a licensed residential facility. (It's the same house we live in now.) We shared out lives and our home with six developmentally disabled women. We had four for the longest time, others came and went for various reasons.

Whatever was going on with our family, weddings, big family birthday parties, church events, trips to Disneyland, community events, they were a part of it. And that meant Christmas too.
On Christmas Eve some of our family came over and we all had a present or two to open, including our ladies. 
Christmas morning was the big event. When the gals got up and dressed and came to breakfast, they were always greeted with a huge pile of gifts. Our goal was to make it as wonderful as our kids' Christmas back in the early days.  They were always so excited! Of course they received new clothes, often videos, games, and if they had a special hobby or interest, something they would like. 
Picking out, buying and wrapping all th…

Christmas Memories Part II

I graduated from high school in 1951 and got married that same year. The kids started coming soon after.

When we lived in Oxnard we sometimes we celebrated Christmas at my parents' house in Los Angeles, driving down with our station wagon loaded with kids and gifts.

One year my third child was over due and my folks, grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousin, came to our little house in Oxnard with gifts and part of the Christmas dinner. I cooked the turkey. Baby arrived 3 days later.

A Christmas when hubby was overseas, I ordered all the kids' presents from a catalog--my credit was denied and I had no gifts. We went early to mom's and she gave me $25 and I was able to buy gifts for all the kids. (Might have only had 3 at the time but still the money sure went a lot further than it does these days.)

I worked off and on as a telephone operator, and one Christmas I had a split shift. I left before anyone was up. When I came home, we all went out to dinner (only time we ever did…

Christmas Memories (Gifts) Part I

Christmas when I was growing up was always a big event.

I don't remember when I was real little and only bits and pieces of other years.
What I do remember is this:
We lived in Los Angeles, between Glendale and Eagle Rock. 
Those first Christmasses were during WW II years.
We (my younger sister and I) always got our presents on Christmas morning. No matter how early we awoke (very early) we couldn't go in the living room until our parents were ready for us to go. What excitement when we were first allowed in.
Christmas gifts I remember:
One of the early gifts was a Shirley Tempe doll with a china head and a wicker doll carriage. She got broken when I took the doll outside in the carriage after being told not to.
A two-story doll house my dad built and the furniture made by my aunt.
A two-wheel bicycle also made by my dad--during the war bicycles were not for sale for various reasons. I know he made the bicycle out of pipes (he was a plumber), where he got the other parts and t…

CHANGES by Lois Winston

Leo Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
I totally disagree. My life has been a series of changes, some precipitated by me, some thrust upon me. Circumstances change, situations change, we change to adapt to these changes. The only thing that is certain in our lives is uncertainty. As Old Blue Eyes said, you can be riding high in April, shot down in May. (And when was the last time you read a blog post that mentioned both Leo Tolstoy and Frank Sinatra?)
My path to publication was anything but instantaneous. It took me a decade –  almost to the day that I first sat down to write – to sell my first novel, Talk Gertie To Me, a humorous take on the relationship between a mother and daughter. Along the way I learned quite a bit about both writing and the world of publishing, so much so that shortly after I sold Talk Gertie To Me, the agency that reps me invited me to join them as an associate. Within the span of a few months I went fro…

Cornwall--Land of Mystery by Carola Dunn

Cornwall has been a mysterious place since the Phoenicians sailed beyond the Pillars of Hercules to buy tin and gold from the misty land of rugged cliffs, moors, and hidden harbours. Until the advent of modern transportation, the easiest access was by sea, and that was by no means easy as thousands of shipwrecks attest. It was a haven for smugglers and wreckers.

My first visit to Cornwall was at the age of eight. My godmother rented a field from a farmer and parked a caravan, high on a hillside looking west over the Atlantic between two rocky headlands, Cambeak and Penkenna. We stayed there every summer and many Easter holidays for a couple of decades. From there we explored the North Coast, the sandy coves, fishing villages, and Bodmin Moor, now the setting of my Cornish mysteries.
In the meantime, my sister moved to the southern side of the duchy, to a minuscule hamlet on the River Tamar, north of Plymouth. Just upstream is Cotehele, a medieval fortified manor beautifully preserve…

The Case of the Stolen Case by Carl Brookins

IT’s been so warm this fall some of our routines have been seriously disrupted. For example, this morning, very early, I crawled through the raised garden at the end of our garage to reach the eaves over the door to the basement. I had noted the previous day the gutter was filled with oak and maple leaves. So I cleaned out the gutter. That usually happens in late October or early November!
Whilst cleaning I recalled that my wife had suggested it was time—pasttime – to mix up my annual batch of spaghetti sauce. Especially since we had recently used up the last jar of last year’s batch, and would I please make it a little sweeter and not so spicy hot this year. That’s a nod to our aging tastes.
And then, she continued, since you like meat chili so much, try cooking up a batch. That suggestion comes from a recent book event. Grand Master Ellen Hart and I made a presentation to a large and enthusiastic bunch of readers a few weeks ago. We were helping a small Wisconsin town with its ann…

A Special Offer

A special offer--for the price of postage, $6.50, I'll send you the first three books in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series at no cost: 

Deadly Omen, Intervention and Wing Beat. 

(The actual 2nd one, Unequally Yoked, is only available from the publisher: Mundania Press and regular outlets.)

Send a check to me, at PO Box 526, Springville CA 93265. (USA addresses only, please.) Or you can use Pay Pal, message me on Facebook and I'll send my email address.

Tempe helps with the investigation of a murder at a Pow Wow.

What Tempe and her husband Hutch planned as a romantic getaway becomes something else when a white-out blizzard snows them in and one of the other guests is missing.

A pot farm hidden away in the mountains and a mysterious death keep Tempe busy.

Each of these books have a bit of Indian mysticism in them.

I'll autograph them, and if you want them personalized in a certain way, let me know.


The Challenges of Publishing and Marketing the Second Novel by Sue McGinty

What about the publishing aspect of your second novel?

“Murder in Los Lobos” was first published by Fithian, a co-op publisher who understood my needs and insecurities and were wonderful to work with in every way. John and Susan Daniels, the publishers, gave me a leg up in the writing world that I’ll always be grateful for. The book sold very well and continued to do well after the Fithian publishing rights expired (after almost eight years) and I repubbed it with CreateSpace. 

This is a bit off-topic, but why did you decide to go with self-publishing on CreateSpace?

I like the creative control—I now even design my own covers—and I choose the font size and interior format I prefer. And I absolutely love the price Amazon charges me for author copies as I hand-sell many of my books at presentations, craft fairs, and other events.

I now have all four titles with CreateSpace and I’m planning to publish the fifth with them as well. Their services suit my marketing plan well. 

I understand that …

Second Novels are Murder by Sue McGinty

Hi Marilyn, thanks for hosting me today. I’m going to answer your questions about getting that second novel off the ground.

What were your assumptions when you started your second novel, “Murder at Cuyamaca Beach?”

Like most writers with a successful first novel, I assumed the writing, publication, and marketing of my second Bella Kowalski California Central Coast (5 adjectives, count ‘em!), mystery would be a cinch. I was wrong on all counts.

How was the writing process itself?

I assumed that because I’d written one novel, the second would be faster and easier. If anything, it was harder. Novels are like children, they don’t all behave the same way. Some let you sleep peacefully all night long, others keep you up all night. The challenges I faced with my recalcitrant child, “Murder at Cuyamaca Beach” were: Choosing a different location on the Central Coast that fit story's plot, creating a believable plot with means, method, and motivation, and how much backstory to include from th…

CHANGING IT UP A BIT by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

If you’ve read my previous books—Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness—you’ll get a feel for my writing style. I always liked sweet stories with good messages growing up, and I strongly believe in my publisher’s mission:
Guardian Angel Publishing believes we can change the world by investing in children, one child at a time. We want the seeds of the influence from our books to live longer than we do, building a harvest of knowledge and vibrant faith that will help transform a time we may never see.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret….
Sometimes I like to write different stories. Every once in a while I don’t want to be so serious. 
In 2010, I was in one of those “need to lighten up” moods while participating in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). This annual November event (moving to January in 2017) challenges writers to come up with 30 picture book concepts in 30 days. A lot of silliness came out in those 30 days, including what would become Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgivin…